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Past demons do have a way to come into one’s present with life changing consequences

Updated: Apr 8, 2021

Book - The Chronicler of the Hooghly and other stories (Fiction)

Author Shakti Ghosal

Interview by Sharon Swathi Gaddala

He is a Mechanical Engineer of the Indian Railway Services and a Management post graduate from IIM Bangalore. He worked in the corporate sector, both in India and abroad, close to four decades. Currently he is visiting faculty at a few of the Indian Institutes of Management as a Coach and a Leadership Incubator with Empathinko Worldwide. He is blessed with a lovely family which consists of his charming wife, two lovely daughters, son-in-law and a one and a half year old grand daughter.

Sharon - Who or what inspired you to write this book?

Author Shakti Ghosal - In our lives, we at times get confronted with intense and traumatic events which force us to question who we are, what really matters to us and what we believe in. In some ways these events alter our sense of reality.

Each of the four stories in this book draw inspiration from such crucible events that I have had to face. The protagonists in that sense carry a bit of my own ‘experience and thought’ genes. As I see them now within the larger fabric of the stories, I do notice shades of myself and others who have been part of my life. Writing the stories has been a personal journey in that sense. At times the stories seemed to write themselves.

Sharon - What can you tell us, about your book?

Author Shakti Ghosal The book is a work of fiction and consists of four independent stories. The Chronicler of the Hooghly :As Samir embarks on a sunset cruise on the Hooghly, he meets the enigmatic Chronicler who takes him on a two and a half centuries journey surrounding the curse of a fabled pearl necklace, as mentioned by his dying mother. The Chronicler asks,“What could be behind you taking this trip today and me telling you this tale?”

Pandemic : Spanning a century between the pandemics of 1919 and 2020, Dipen and Indranil are confronted by tragedies under vastly different societal conditioning and development. What is their link spanning four generations which arises from an old and dilapidated palace and its massive Shiva linga?

Ashtami : As the capital of the British Raj shifts to Delhi in 1912, Junior Clerk Sujit with wife Bina is forced to migrate from Calcutta to distant and dusty Civil Lines in Delhi. Shanti, born of a forcep delivery gone horribly wrong, comes into their lives. A tale of evolving relationships against the backdrop of momentous events in the nation’s history.

Faultlines :Suffering severe injuries from a gas explosion, Anjan meets Savio who brings him face to face with the private demons from his past. But past demons do have a way to come into one’s present with life changing consequences. Who is Savio?

Sharon - What Genre is your book and did why did you make that choice?

Author Shakti Ghosal - The Genre is Fiction with three of the stories falling in the realm of Historical Fiction.

Sharon - How long did it take for you to complete this book?

Author Shakti Ghosal - I took the opportunity of forcible stay inside my home during the lockdown period to write the book. Though I had a rough structure of the plots in my mind, I could put pen to paper only in March 2020 after which it took about four months to complete.

Sharon - What was the hardest part while you were writing this book?

Author Shakti Ghosal I suppose this comes true for all individuals who sit down to write a book. Once I had structured and written a story, my mind kind of got into a 'single track' and I lost the ability of making significant change in either the narration or the plot. So even when the initial draft was read by close family members and they had some worthwhile suggestions, I tended to defend what I had written. To me, this ability to accept constructive criticism and be willing to make changes in what one has written is a hard part of the whole experience.

Sharon - How did you select or come up with the Title of this book?

Author Shakti Ghosal - The Book title flows from one of the stories, 'The Chronicler of the Hooghly'

Sharon - Did you design your book cover or hire a professional?

Author Shakti Ghosal - The book cover was designed by the publisher on the basis of a perspective I had offered. The publisher offered a few cover options to choose from.

Sharon - Did you self publish or use a publisher?

Author Shakti Ghosal - I have used a traditional publisher.

Sharon - How was working with the published and is it free or paid service?

Author Shakti Ghosal - I loved interacting with the publisher regarding finalisation of the cover, section layouts as well as the final proofreading. The publisher offered free service for all this

For me the least favourite part of publishing is the long gestation period of six months between submission of manuscript and the scheduled release. But I suppose that is how it is in the publishing world.

Sharon - How did you celebrate after you completed your book?

Author Shakti Ghosal - That is a good question. I do not recall what I did but I suppose I went to the coffee bar with my wife.

Sharon - How do you deal with negative reviews on your book review?

Author Shakti Ghosal - As I have said in my response to an earlier question, we tend to get so 'attached' to what we have written that we have a problem to deal with negative reviews. I always tell my own self that every review and criticism is really a wake-up call and a nudge to make me improve myself. I have tried to consciously 'let go' of my attachment to what I have written.

Sharon - When did you start writing?

Author Shakti Ghosal - As humans, we remain unique story tellers. There is always a story inside each one of us waiting to come out. My journey with blogging, which started a decade ago, also stemmed from that intrinsic need to ‘say something’ about what I felt passionate about at that point in time. So I ended up writing about Philosophy, World events and Trends, Management, Coaching, Life experiences amongst other domains.

Sharon - What advice would you give to a writing for their first book?

Author Shakti Ghosal - Well, I am a newbie myself so remain unsure if I am qualified to give advice. However, based on my own experience of writing a debut book I would say this. An aspiring author needs to structure the story plot, remain resilient through days when one’s creativity goes on a holiday and maintain authenticity in one’s writing.

Sharon - How many books have you written?

Author Shakti Ghosal - The Chronicler of the Hooghly and other stories is my debut novel

Sharon - Who is your favorite Author and why?

Author Shakti Ghosal - In the genre of historical fiction to which three of the four stories of “The Chronicler of the Hooghly and other stories” belong, my favourite authors are William Dalrymple and Amitav Ghosh. Their depth of research which shows through in their writings, their alignment with the broad brush of history and development of characters within that mileau is nothing short of remarkable.

To Follow the Author on Social Platforms

We wish Shakti Ghosal all the very best for his book.

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